Posts Tagged ‘calder & hebble’

Day 35 – Elland to Huddersfield

Tuesday 28 July, 2009

After breakfast we set off into Brighouse and used the same facilities; we also took on water, purchased gas and used the Sainsbury’s. The main purchase was three jars of olives filled with whole cloves of garlic…

At Cooper Bridge Junction we ventured onto another new canal and the last junction before the major turning point which will send us back home. The next junction at Dukinfield will be a turn south and will generally head us back towards Oxford. Shortly beforehand we passed Aqua Roma again!

We were accompanied in the first few locks of the Huddersfield Broad Canal by Brahms. There is dreadful weed problem on this canal. So much so it appears to be carpeted in the green stuff. Brahms soon tied up and we carried on up the nine locks before having another late lunch (around 3.30). We moored just before Aspley Basin and after ablutions walked up the hill to The Grove Inn where we found 13 real ales.

Michael was joined by an old school friend, Robert Goodland, whom he had not seen for between five and nine years. Much conversation ensued, accompanied by beer. En route back to the boat we stopped for rather dreadful fish and chips at the Trinity Fisheries chippy.

The next two days are fairly leisurely: not many miles but a good number of locks. We have to be at lock 24 East (near Slaithwaite) by noon on Thursday ready for passage to the summit of the Huddersfield Narrow (a total of 42 locks) by the end of the day. On Friday we make the 3¼ mile passage through the Standedge Tunnel, the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in Britain. We’ll bore you with more detail on Friday no doubt!

Menu: cooked breakfast or cereal and toast; gammon and beef sandwiches; fish and chips (dreadful).


Day 34 – Elland to Elland (via Sowerby Bridge)

Monday 27 July, 2009

The weather looked overcast but not too threatening as we set off after breakfast this morning. However a couple of locks in and the heavens opened. Alex and Bernard managed to protect themselves but Michael was left on the bank with little shelter. The rain worsened so we made one of our rare weather-related stops and tied up for a cup of tea.

The Salterhebble flight of three locks are very picturesque but the area was spoiled by the neighbouring sewage works. The bottom lock has been truncated due to a road widening scheme so the bottom gates have been replaced by a guillotine. It is very slow to operate (electrically).

We soon reached Sowerby Bridge where we were due to meet Luke. We grabbed a bonus canal by ascending the first two normal locks and the combined third and fourth locks of the Rochdale Canal. The combined locks now form the Tuel Lane Deep Lock which is the deepest in Britain. The difference in height is 19ft 8½ins! Access to the lock is via a tunnel, about 100 yards in length, which includes a bend.

Luke arrived just in time for the descent. Alex went shopping and we finally lunched at 4.00pm! Returning to Salterhebble we were joined by another boat and a rapid descent was made of the flight (guillotine lock excepted) and a number of subsequent locks. We returned to last night’s mooring for another stay.

Menu: cooked breakfast, or gluten-free crumpets, or cereal and toast; cold lamb salad; boeuf à la bourguignonne, followed by cheese and port.

Day 33 – Mirfield to Elland

Sunday 26 July, 2009

After a slow start waiting to see if the Shepley Bridge Marina would open, Michael decided to walk the mile up to Ledgard Bridge to see if there was any sign of life at Mirfield Boatyard. He found a friendly gentleman working on his own boat on the hardstanding.

After explaining the problem with a weld on the alternator mounting he said he might be able to fix it with his welding equipment at home. A quick call to Alex meant Tardebigge set off Ledgard Bridge and Bernard demounted the alternator on arrival. A quick inspection by the gentleman resulted in him and Bernard making the trip to his house (and workshop) in Holmfirth!

Some considerable time later they returned with a repaired and reinforced alternator mount. Bernard made some slight modifications to make it fit and we were sorted. Michael thanked the gentleman (we never found out his name!) with alcoholic beverages, and we set off.

Progress through the locks is rather slow and they become more concentrated above Cooper Bridge Junction. We shall be returning to this junction in a couple of days for the journey into Huddersfield and up to Marsden.

The rain was light, steady and entirely unrelenting all afternoon so we moored up near Elland just after 7.00pm. Luke is now joining us tomorrow.

Menu: cooked breakfasts or cereal; beef sandwiches; sweet and sour chicken with noodles, followed by fresh cherries and cheese with port!

Day 32 – Castleford to Mirfield

Saturday 25 July, 2009

A much more leisurely start to the day today, and no rude awakening from large barges! We were moored close to Castleford Flood Lock which today had all gates open so we passed straight through, following two other boats including Aqua Roma who we had met in Hapton two weeks ago.

We were now on a stretch of the Aire and Calder that is new to Michael. He will be on new waterways all the way to Etruria in Stoke on Trent if all goes to plan. On rounding the bend at Fairies Hill we ran aground on a shoal of gravel, immediately opposite the gravel wharf. We were stuck for some time and despite the efforts of a passing boat at pulling us off we appeared to be stuck fast. Thankfully all the pulling and turning enabled Bernard to reverse off and we were on our way again.

Near Wakefield the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct carries the navigation over the the river.

At Wakefield the waterways almost pass the city by. Here the Aire and Calder becomes the Calder and Hebble along with its shorter locks and peculiar paddle gear. Many paddles do not require a windlass but a length of wood (see the photos below) to lift them. The locks are terrible with unpredictable currents from the various paddles, poorly maintained gear, and a tremendous weed problem.

At Dewsbury Bernard spotted a broken bolt on the alternator and further inspection showed that a weld had also given way. A short stop enabled him to make a temporary repair. We need to visit a boatyard, hopefully tomorrow, for some welding.

Menu: usual breakfasts; ham salad; roast breast of lamb stuffed with garlic, strawberries dipped in chocolate with Botrytis Semillon. Followed by port but no cheese.